Every year on 10 December, Norway awards the Nobel Peace Prize. This date marks the anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel, who endowed the Nobel Prizes in his will. Nobel was able to leave such a large endowment because of the riches generated by his many inventions, the most famous of which is dynamite.
If anything, the timing of the Nobel Peace prize is ironic. If the European Union is serious about sticking to the values and the principles upon which it was formed, it must recognise that bringing unity to a country where the memories of civil war are all too recent is paramount. Austerity measures will do nothing but create unrest and divide country, allowing parties such as Golden Dawn to rise up through the cracks.
To read the torrent of abuse pouring on the heads of the worthy Norwegians who judge the EU to be a force for peace in the world is quite hilarious but sadly monochrome on Twitter. Like the best of Colonel Blimps they splutter with purple rage and fury at the thought of their hated, loathed EU being lauded this way.
Having had the opportunity to hear from many of the giants of the Muslim world, as well as having heard from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, I was pleased to listen to the 14th Dalai Lama His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso on his recent tour of the UK. His talk aimed at the youth was entitled 'Stand Up and Be The Change', and was hosted by Russell Brand.
Today we celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Two weeks ago on Armistice Day we remembered those who died in the wars of last century and this. In just over two weeks' time the Nobel Peace Prize will be presented in Oslo to three women. The connection is this. A century ago 80% of the casualties in war were soldiers, 20% were civilians; today that ratio is reversed. In war zones such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, the death toll has reached more than 5 million - the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II - where one of the main weapons of war is rape.